WHITCHURCH ASSOCIATION SOCIAL MEDIA / WEBSITE COMMENT POLICY

Applicable to all who use Whitchurch Association Social Media and Community Website online comment facilities – including the administrators and members of the public.

Introduction
‘Social media‘ is the term commonly given to websites and online tools that allow users to interact with each other in some way – by sharing information, opinions, knowledge and interests. As the name implies, social media involves the building of communities or networks, encouraging participation and engagement.

Principles
These principles apply to your online participation and set out the standards of behaviour the WA would like you to adhere to.

Be professional; remember that others will judge you by what you publish.

Be responsible; be honest at all times and when you gain insight; share it with others where appropriate.

Be credible, be accurate and fair.

Always remember that participation online results in your comments being permanently available and open to being republished in other media.

Stay within the legal framework and be aware that libel, defamation, copyright and data protection laws apply.

General Guidelines
Blogs are perhaps the most well-known example of social media, but the term encompasses other platforms. Examples include podcasts, ‘wikis’ (such as Wikipedia), message boards, social bookmarking websites (such as del.icio.us), social networking websites (such as Facebook, Bebo, MySpace) and content sharing websites (such as Flickr, YouTube).

‘Social media’ can be referenced in a variety of ways, often depending on which sector is discussing it. Other terms that may be used in a similar context include ‘social software’, ‘social computing’ and ‘Web 2.0’. For convenience we use ‘social media’ throughout.

The growing popularity of social media has attracted the attention of companies and individuals who believe that these platforms open up new opportunities for communication. The opportunities are indeed there, as are the pitfalls.
The following guidelines are there to provide you with information to make responsible decisions and to get the best out of the tools available.

We would ask that you take the following into consideration when using social media:

1] Understand your responsibilities identified in this Policy.

2] Be responsible for anything you publish on social media. Always remember that participation online results in your comments being permanently available and open to being republished in other media.

3] Respect copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws. Stay within the legal framework and be aware that libel, defamation, copyright and data protection laws apply.

4] Ask and seek advice on topics you are unsure on.

5] Respect your audience. Don’t use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any inflammatory conduct. You should also show proper consideration for others’ privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory—such as politics and religion.

6] If you identify yourself ensure that your profile and related content is consistent with how you wish to present yourself.

7] Remain impartial. Don’t pick fights, be the first to correct your own mistakes, and don’t alter previous posts without indicating that you have done so.

8] Try to add value. Provide worthwhile information and perspective.

9] Maintain your own privacy. Never give out personal details like home address and phone numbers. Also be aware that you may attract media interest in yourself as an individual, so proceed with care whether you are participating in a business or a personal capacity.

If you have any doubts or questions contact the Whitchurch Association through:
contact@whitchurch.org.uk

Dated: 24th FEBRUARY 2013

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